Does this sound familiar? “If you just relax, reduce your stress level, and stop worrying, you will be able to resume your normal sexual activity. Erectile dysfunction is a psychological problem that you can conquer with will and determination.” If this is the advice you have been given, you have been done a great disservice. The general consensus a generation ago was that ED was a problem of the mind, not the body. Fortunately, there have been amazing advances in the field and we understand ED as a physical condition. While it is true that stress, guilt, and depression can cause ED, and they can certainly contribute to it, we now know that in the majority of people, it has a physical cause. And it is very treatable.
For many men, simple changes in lifestyle can help reverse erectile dysfunction. Taking healthy steps to stop chronic drinking, quit smoking, or lose weight while adopting a healthy diet can help. In many cases, illnesses or prescription drugs can cause ED, so talking to your doctor is essential. Beyond lifestyle changes, there are nonsurgical techniques that work effectively for most men with ED, including:
- Oral medications. Sildenafil, or Viagra, was the first drug approved for treatment of ED, and several others have followed, including tadalafil, or Cialis, and vardenafil, or Levitra. These drugs have high rates of success and may work for you. Newer regimens with low daily doses are now available, and clinical trials for even newer agents are periodically available through Dr. Spitz’s practice.
- Injections. In injection therapy, medication is injected directly into the penis to produce an erection. This can be an effective treatment method because dosage is customized to the patients’ specifications, and it can be done safely for men who have a variety of physical conditions for whom oral medications may not be appropriate or not strong enough. After an initial treatment, men can learn to inject themselves to achieve an erection.
- Vacuum devices. A vacuum constriction device, VCD, can be an effective treatment option for many men. An external pump is briefly placed over the penis, a vacuum is created and this draws blood into the penis, and then a constriction ring is placed around the base of the penis to keep the blood trapped in the penis and maintain the erection once the pump is removed. The constriction ring may be kept on for about 30 minutes. Today, men have a host of treatment options available, and there are effective, safe ways to achieve and maintain erections. Dr. Spitz can help you determine which treatment option is right for you and how best you can resume normal sexual relations.